Orlando has long been a tourist hotspot, with theme parks dominating the landscape. It’s home to the ubiquitous Disney World, but you already knew that (If you didn’t, well Disney World is in Orlando). There are things to do in Orlando besides theme parks though. Here are some of the other attractions in this sunshine city.
The self-titled “Alligator capital of the World”, Gatorland, seems to have the numbers to back up that strong title. Featuring thousands of gators across a 100 acre park, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about this deadly reptile.
You can watch alligator wrestling, pet some less threatening creatures in the petting zoo, and even zip line over an alligator pit. It’s no wonder that parts of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were filmed here.
Mini Golf Courses
There’s something about hitting a golf ball through various obstacles that seems to lure people in. While most of us will never hit a hole in one in golf, mini golf provides ample opportunity to do just that. Orlando happens to house some of the biggest and baddest mini golf courses on the planet, perfect for tourists of any age.
Kennedy Space Center
Just a short drive from most Orlando hotels, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex gives visitors an inside look into America’s space program. Displays and exhibits commemorate both the history of space flight and the future. A guided tour is a must.
Lake Eola Park
For a more nature inspired activity, look no further than Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando. During the summer, a fountain dazzles onlookers with a water show backed by colorful lights and festive music. It’s a very relaxing way to spend an evening.
American Art Museum
Orlando isn’t known as a cultural hotspot, but the American Art Museum is looking to change that. This museum is home to the largest collection of Tiffany glass in the world. The museum continues to expand, with 2011 seeing the debut of a $5 million Tiffany Wing that houses some of the most pristine Tiffany glass displays.
Spread throughout 50 acres, the Harry P. Leu Gardens is home to more than 1,000 rose bushes (in season from April to January) and the largest collection of camellias in North America. There is also a citrus grove and butterfly garden. It’s an often overlooked part of the city, but definitely worth a trip.
Of course, you can always just go to a theme park, but why not give the other side of Orlando a try? And as long as you’re in “the neighborhood,” you might want to consider a side trip south to get out on big water and drop a line in for some Key West Fishing.
For more excellent ideas, check out Nomadic Notes: Guide to Orlando.